By Musa Adamu and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate yesterday became rowdy when Chairman of Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Sen Chukwuka Utazi, moved to lay the report on confirmation of Olanipekun Olukayode as Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Two members of the Committee, Sen Isa Misua and Sen Dino Melaye, objected to the laying of the report on the allegation that the Chairman had failed to carry out the resolution of the Senate passed the previous day.
The Senate had directed the Committee Chairman to meet with all members of the Committee to iron out their grievances before laying the report.
But, in their objections to the laying of the report, the two Senators, who had earlier complained of not being carried along on the confirmation hearing of the nominee, alleged that the Chairman had failed to carry out the resolution of Senate.
Sen Misau alleged that the Chairman of the Committee failed to summon them as directed by the Senate but instead brought the report to himself and Sen Melaye for their signatures.
He further alleged that except the Chairman had something to hide, he saw no reason why a hearing cannot be held to screen the nominee.
He urged the Senate to reject the report until its resolution was carried out.
On his part, Sen Melaye cautioned the Senate against accepting the report before the carrying out of its resolution as, according to him, that will be breaking their own laws.
But, in his response Sen Utazi who said the resolution of the Senate was only out of courtesy, insisted that he invited the complaining Senators to the meeting severally but that they failed to turn up.
He said after failing to get them the meeting he had to go ahead with the assignment with others since the number of those present was enough to form a quorum.
He described as misleading the assertion of the two meeting, accusing them of choosing to engage in some other assignment when the clerk sent copies of the report to them for their comments.
He, therefore, called on the Senate to ignore their objections and accept the committee’s report since the quorum was formed when the committee sat.
He said: “I am not given to responding to frivolities but there is need to clear the air on this. This Committee’s quorum is three and I sent notices of meetings to members including this Senator who is trying to mislead the Senate.
“Again, as directed by the Senate, my Clerk dispatched copies of the report to the various members but the same member was not anywhere to be found as he was said to have had gone for oversight assignment of Appropriation Committee. After, all the directive was out of courtesy.
“On the day we were going for the meeting I called every member for the meeting but the same member was not there he is only interested in coming here to stop our work. Unless you now say three does not form a quorum and or my committee should no longer work, we have the report here and the Senate should do the needful.”
On his intervention, Leader of the Senate, Sen Ahmed Lawal who sided with the Committee Chairman confirmed a quorum of a Committee was met and that Committee fulfilled all required to turn out a valid report.
He urged the two Senators to wait and make their grievances know during the consideration of the report.
Also intervening, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, recalled that the resolution of the Senate was meant to assuage the feelings of the disgruntled Senators, adding that the directed meeting was not meant to change the findings of the committee.
Saraki later ruled that the Senate be dissolved into the Committee of Whole where the nominee was confirmed as Secretary of the EFCC.